Three Oahu friends are happy to be alive, but only after thinking they were goners Tuesday night when their kayak started sinking in rough waters off Kailua.
Travis Kane, his friends Cash Vincent and Keely Ramstead, and Ramstead’s Dalmatian Molly, went kayaking to the Mokulua Islands on Tuesday around sundown when their kayak started sinking about half-way there.
The kayak eventually capsized. Ramstead swam to one of the Mokulua Islands. Kane stayed with Vincent, but the current was strong.
"It got dark at this point and then I started losing hope," Vincent said. "And I was really scared that I was gonna die multiple times because the waves were crashing on top of me and the undertow was kicking me under and it was smashing against the reef."
Kane added, "I was like, ‘Come on! You have to make it!’ And she was like, ‘Travis! Don't leave me! Please!"
That's the last Kane heard from Vincent as he struggled to make it to the island.
"I washed up, hanging onto the cliffs,” Kane said.
“Instead of feeling happy that I made it, I felt so bad. I looked back and the sea was all rough and black and I couldn't see her and it was the worst feeling I ever had," he said.
What Kane didn't know is that Vincent, the weakest swimmer of the three, started swimming back to shore in the dark.
She said it took her almost four hours. When she got to the beach, she said she scaled a rock wall to get to a home, and knocked on a family's door, soaking wet and exhausted.
On Wednesday, the three went to thank that family who helped them get through a tough night.
The Kings called the three "survivors." Kane called the Kings "angels."
“Just wanted to tell you guys thank you so much for last night," Kane said.
The three recounted their ordeal, and said they were lucky to be alive.
"I wasn't really scared the whole time until I realized I had no paddles in this sinking kayak and I was super tired and it was dark, it was pretty much pitch black at that point," Kane said.
Vincent added, "I'm like OK, if I'm fighting for my life, I'll swim all night if I have to. Even if that means I'm choking on seawater.:
"And so many times I considered giving up but something in me kept fighting," she said.
While Vincent was swimming back to shore, Kane and Ramstead reunited on Mokulua Island.
"She was so upset that I said Cash was gone. And we just cried together on the beach. It was such a heavy moment," Kane said.
By that time, Vincent had reached the King family home, and the couple had called 911.
“Couple hours later, I see a helicopter with a spotlight and I thought it was like a dream," Kane said.
A dream come true for the three kayakers. And they are holding out hope Ramstead’s pup, Molly, somehow made it to shore.